Lyon State Fishing Lake
This lake is in the tallgrass prairie but much of it is bordered by red cedar, rough-leaved dogwood, smooth sumac, hackberry, and elm. Meadowlarks, mourning doves, Bell's vireos, rufous-sided towhees, and bobwhite quail nest here. In the spring, you can locate booming grounds of the greater prairie chicken by driving along the roads at sunrise and listening carefully for the "cackling" and "cooing" sounds. During migrations the lake attracts ducks and geese and several species of songbirds, including Harris' sparrows, cardinals, robins, and tree sparrows. Long-eared owls sometimes roost in the cedar trees during winter.
In the woodlands, watch for white-tailed deer, fox squirrels, and the nests of eastern wood rats. These large, domed, stick nests built around the base of a tree, or sometimes several feet off the ground, are quite visible. To birders, the area is probably best known as a place to find Smith's longspurs. To find these birds, be prepared for a challenge and walk the mowed hayfields on the south side of the lake. Watch for small flocks of buff-colored birds about the size of sparrows with a white shoulder patch and white outer tail feathers. During summer these birds return to the high arctic to nest.
Primitive camping only.
No developed trails.
Ownership: The entity responsible for management of Lyon State Fishing Lake is the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism. Contact them at (620) 431-0380 if you have specific questions about use or management of the site.
Questions or comments about Natural Kansas may be directed to
Questions or comments about Natural Kansas may be directed to Jim Mason